Do you think you need to wait until your life is perfect before you become a mentor? I recently spoke at a retreat where I was struck with the age diversity in the group. There were teens, young adult single women, new moms with their babies, along with middle-aged and older women. I was blessed with intergenerational mentoring in my family of origin, but not everyone has that benefit. My Mama (pictured with four of her daughters and a niece) was a godly mentor to us.
At the retreat I heard a testimonial by a young woman named Jordyn Baker and it impacted me greatly. Here’s what she said: “I spent a large portion of my life believing there was no place for me in what seemed to be cookie-cutter Christianity. To me, it appeared that Christianity was full of perfect women who had life figured out. With all the effort in the world I couldn’t relate to such a thing. It’s by the grace of God I came across Candelaria Bradbury. If there was some sort of rule about keeping up an image or maintaining a facade, Cande missed the memo. Vulnerability is her gift and because she and her family invited me into their unfiltered, messy, beautiful lives, I came to understand that I not only had a place in Christianity, but there was no other place I’d rather be than in the Kingdom of God.”
Jordyn continued: “We live in a society that doesn’t foster intergenerational relationships. Our culture has permitted only a narrow window of perceived importance—roughly spanning the ages of 17 to 30, and this makes me so sad. As believers, it’s vital that we recognize the importance of intergenerational relationships, and that we deny the temptation to hide our fears and insecurities behind the masks of ‘perfect.’ Today a panel of women talked about relationships with younger women. One mentioned that she felt under-qualified because she didn’t have Snapchat, didn’t look a certain way, and didn’t feel ‘cool enough.’ I want to speak to that.”
She challenged us with these words: “We need you. We do not need to come to your perfectly clean home for a three-course meal and crafted conversation. Everything fed to us in today’s society is filtered and perfected. We don’t need anymore of that nonsense by which to measure ourselves.
—to help prepare a meal with you
—to stop by unannounced and help you fold socks
—to go grocery shopping with you
—to be invited into your real lives—unfiltered.
The truth is—it’s not in spite of your “lack of Snapchat” or “lack of perfected bodies” (or however you manage to disqualify yourself) that we need you—it is because of those things! We don’t need you to be like us!
We need you to be:
—brave and confident
—comfortable in your own skin”
Then Jordyn wrapped up her plea with: “We need you to tell us that you never really ‘have it all together’ and that life is more about finding God’s beauty and love in the journey than it is about becoming some perfect individual. We need you to show us what it looks like to be real women. Why? So that when we are married with kids and we go a whole day in our pajamas without putting on a bra, or when we are thirty and have no husband and nothing figured out—we can have an actual, physical reference to the fact that there is no such thing as ‘figured out’ or ‘perfect.’ And that even in those times we can know that we are completely lovable and normal. Without your authenticity our example is in the hands of liars.”
From Carol: Jordyn has inspired me to be more transparent in my relationships. How about you? Go to www.CarolKent.org and comment on these questions. What makes a good mentor? What has your experience been? What holds you back from accepting the opportunity to mentor? What is your response to this honest message from Jordyn Baker? Let’s start a movement—no more perfect mentors!